Cycling and running are both great ways to keep fit, but is one more effective than the other? From weight loss and building muscle to cardiovascular health, these classic sports provide a wide range of benefits. Determining which is better for you is really down to personal choice and your own fitness level and goals.
In this post, we’ll compare the benefits of both to better understand which might be better for different people.
The number of calories you burn during both cycling and running will depend on the length you do it for and the intensity of the exercise, as well as your own metabolism.
In general, running does tend to burn more calories than cycling because it uses more muscles than cycling does. But again, this depends on your intensity level. Cycling can be a gentler exercise compared to running if you’re going at a steady pace, which could mean you do it for longer and so burn more calories overall. The number of calories you burn whilst doing either of these exercises will also depend on whether you are doing it on a flat surface or uphill – you will burn a lot more calories if you cycle or run uphill even for a short amount of time during your workout.
Both cycling and running can aid in weight loss when combined with a healthy diet. How many extra calories you burn depends on the intensity and length of your exercise, and how effective it is over a longer period really depends on how well you can integrate it into your daily life.
Weight loss through cycling and running is only sustainable if you pair it with a consistent and healthy routine, healthy eating and other habits. Keep in mind that whilst running can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, cycling is less intense and gentler on your joints.
Cycling and running are massively beneficial in terms of cardiovascular health. Regular running and cycling can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps to improve lung health, stimulate circulation, lower your resting pulse rate and even helps to reduce levels of fat in your blood.
However, it’s important to remember that if you’re engaging in vigorous running and biking activities, you should limit yourself to no more than 60 minutes of activity a day. Overdoing vigorous cardio activities can actually have a negative effect on your cardiovascular health over time.
Building and maintaining muscle mass
The key difference between running and cycling when it comes to muscle strength is that whilst cycling can help to build muscles, running helps to maintain them. Running uses a large number of your muscles at the same time, but not in a way that will build much bulk. It can however help you to develop stronger and more toned muscles, as well as improve bone strength. Running slower from longer stretches of time can help you achieve a more toned look.
Cycling on the other hand really involves your lower half and can help to build and tone your leg muscles with more intense exercise.
What else to consider?
Cycling and running are great activities to help you lose weight, build and maintain muscle as well as stay fit and healthy. These aren’t the only reasons people pick up these exercises though – it’s also a relatively inexpensive workout once you have the equipment, especially when compared to a gym membership.
Cycling and running are also common exercises recommended to people with underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes. However, it’s important to check with your doctor first to make sure that the chosen activity is safe for you.